Fri02122016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Natives soak up watered gardens

Photo Arvind Kumar/Special To The Town Crier Hummingbirds enjoy the magenta flowers of hummingbird sage, which releases an enjoyable fragrance when touched.

 

California native plants can thrive poolside or pondside, next to a vegetable garden, in range of lawn sprinklers, in a rain garden, covering the ground near fruit trees, in a flower border that gets regular water or under a birdbath.

The best choices are plants that come from riparian, or streamside, areas, though some common natives tolerate a surprisingly large range of conditions. For a small garden, use barriers or containers to keep some of these plants in check.

With regular water, certain otherwise well-behaved natives expand their territory. If you already grow these plants in drought-tolerant conditions, don’t start watering them unless you want to propagate them.

Yarrow, for instance, takes full to part sun, tolerates drought, yet also does well – and spreads faster – where it gets regular water. Its creeping stems create a good ground cover, kept low if you snip the flowering stems.

I leave the flowers to attract beneficial insects to my vegetable garden, where yarrow mingles with low-growing light-pink- or purple-flowered seaside daisy and fragrant-leaved yerba buena in different areas alongside vegetables and berries.

Hummingbird sage is similarly adaptable. One of my plants has filled a large pot and cascades over the edges. Another one has gradually filled a garden bed. I enjoy the fragrance of the leaves, released when I touch them, and the hummingbirds enjoy the magenta flowers. As a bonus, if the plant spreads where you don’t want it, you can harvest its leaves and dry them for a delicious tea.

For the back of an informal border or the edge of a natural pond, add bursts of yellow in late summer to fall with western goldenrod. It will bloom more with more sun, and it needs to be contained if it gets regular water in a small garden. Goldenrod makes a good border for an edible garden because it attracts beneficial insects.

Brighten a shady or part-sun corner that gets some moisture with the red flowers of western columbine. Hummingbirds will find them! Left to go to seed, goldfinches will feed on them. Scarlet or red monkeyflower and yellow-eyed grass also add spots of vibrant color to moist areas.

On a larger scale, willows are the archetypal streamside vegetation. For a boggy or poorly draining spot, try a small willow, such as the shrubby Del Norte willow. Western spicebush, red-twig and brown-twig dogwood, fragrant thicket-forming native roses, western mock orange and fragrant western azalea also thrive with some water and provide food, forage and shelter for insects and wildlife. Golden currant is particularly picturesque with its flower-packed branches arching over a streambank.

For a pond itself, stream orchid is easy and needs consistent moisture to bloom. Its flowers have muted hues of yellow, brown and purple. Keep it in a pot to control spreading and so that you can move it when it goes dormant from fall to early winter.

Often used in modern landscapes for its architectural form, horsetail can grow in standing water but can colonize drier areas of the garden as well. I grow horsetail in a container, and I still need to weed around it periodically to keep it from spreading.

 

Tanya Kucak gardens organically. E-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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